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NCJ Number: 97304 Find in a Library
Title: Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Response (From Rape and Sexual Assault, P 46-60, 1985, Ann W Burgess, ed. - See NCJ-97300)
Author(s): A W Burgess; L L Holmstrom
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Garland Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY 10003-3304
Sale Source: Garland Publishing, Inc.
19 Union Square
West Floor 8
New York, NY 10003-3304
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The rape trauma syndrome is a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's 1980 edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual; this definition carries specific implications for treatment.
Abstract: Selye, Horowitz, Symonds, and others have described stress response patterns in general. In the 1970's, the psychiatric literature began examining the trauma rape causes the victim. The early conceptualizations of the stress response patterns of rape victims are consistent with the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, a major category of anxiety disorders. The main feature of PTSD is the stressor's being of such magnitude that it evokes distinguishable symptoms in almost everyone. The literature has emphasized the significance of the personal violation for the rape victim. The second major diagnostic criterion for PTSD is the reexperiencing of the trauma, most often through recurrent and intrusive recollection of the event. The third criterion is a numbing of responsiveness to or reduced involvement with the environment. The fourth criterion states that two of the following symptoms not present before the rape should now be present: hyper-alertness, sleep disturbance, guilt, impairment of memory or concentration, avoidance of activities arousing recollection, and increased symptoms that symbolize or resemble the event. PTSD may be acute, chronic, or delayed according to the manual. It may also involve a compound reaction to the rape, other events, or an unresolved sexual trauma. Crisis intervention is the best immediate treatment, but several treatment models are available. Research is now focusing on the factors which intensify or reduce rape trauma and affect recovery. Ninety-three references are listed.
Index Term(s): Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Psychiatric services; Sexual assault trauma; Sexual assault victims; Victim reactions to crime; Victim services
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